Stuart Dallas and Wingers
People often talk about the south stand movement and the subsequent atmospheric improvement inside Elland Road. For me, the banners they’ve taken it upon themselves to display are comfortably their coolest output, giving real colour to the ground on match days.
I’m starting to think that maybe they need to add another. This wouldn’t be a celebratory banner though, oh no, but a warning.
So starved has Beeston been of wingers, right or left, that Jeremy Corbyn could probably have carved out a career for himself on the flanks at Leeds if this whole leadership thing doesn’t worked out.
Like the Labour Party, the sudden introduction of this forgotten concept is hard to take at Leeds. While great Leeds sides have had great wingers – Eddie Gray immediately springs to mind – they fell by the wayside under Neil Warnock and haven’t really been seen since, barring some temporary visits.
Stuart Dallas arrived to fill the berth on the left in the summer amid much excitement. However, because Dallas hadn’t done much in terms of raw output in his first few games, and against Sheffield Wednesday, there was a sense that patience was running out slightly.
That’s the thing about wingers though, they aren’t there for constant brilliance, but those single moments of individual excitement that unlock a defence. Leeds haven’t been missing the kindling for the last few seasons, but the tiny sparks that set the whole thing alight.
On Saturday, Dallas did. It was slightly unlike anything we’ve seen recently, as Dallas nutmegged an opposition player before creating an opportunity for Chris Wood that he simply couldn’t miss. It was the sort of assist that is almost more valuable than the finish itself.
In the end, wingers are inherently not as involved as other players, pushed wide to find space but away from the ball most of the time. It doesn’t matter that they float around on the fringes, as long as they provide those moments when they are needed.
So onto that warning that the South Stand should display. Maybe it’s more of a reminder: wingers are there to be forgiven until there is a reason to thank them.
- There’s been a bit of strange chatter about Chris Wood, but his two goals this week should end that. His play in the air today was great, and he showed the sort of striker’s positioning and instinct that Steve Morison never did for Leeds when he finished off the goal.
- It’s good to see Uwe Rosler rotate the defence depending on the threat posed by the opposition. Guiseppe Bellusci would have struggled against Atdhe Nuhiu in the air, but Liam Cooper and Sol Bamba dealt with him with ease.
- Charlie Taylor could be the breakout star this season. He looks a real talent at left back.